Addiction brings unique challenges for women. If they have a problem with alcohol, they leave themselves more vulnerable to abuse by others. Women tend to become intoxicated faster because they absorb alcohol at a quicker rate than men. Women with drug addiction may become desperate enough to engage in activities that lead to dangerous situations. That’s why women seeking help for addiction must receive care that accounts for the genuine differences in how addiction impacts women in different ways than it affects men. Reach out to The Willows at Red Oak today at 855.773.0614 to learn more.
Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on Women
Women with a substance use disorder often start off taking smaller amounts of some drugs. It can still take less time for them to form an addiction versus men. Women can also respond differently to different substances than men. They may experience more drug cravings and be more prone to relapse after going through a treatment program. That can be due to their hormones, making them more susceptible than men to certain drugs’ effects.
Other ways that drugs and alcohol may affect women differently than men include:
- Women are often more likely to end up in the emergency room or overdose because of the effects of substance abuse
- The changes that occur in women’s brain can differ from men
- Substance abuse can cause more damage to a woman’s heart and blood vessels
- Women may be more prone to developing mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or panic attacks
Pregnant women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can also risk affecting their fetus’s short- and long-term health. The baby can end up experiencing withdrawal once it is born. That’s common for those born to mothers who abuse substances like alcohol, opioids, and prescription sedatives.
Some substances can increase the chances of a woman having a miscarriage, seizure, or developing high blood pressure. A woman who continues using drugs or alcohol while pregnant will increase the likelihood of having a stillbirth.
Reasons Women End Up With an Addiction
Women who end up with a drug or alcohol addiction may turn to substances for different reasons than men, including:
- Giving in to the stress that comes with the role of being a caretaker
- Feeling pressured to maintain an air of perfection while keeping a job and family
- To cover up the pain of past sexual trauma
- To help overcome feelings of inadequacy in how they look
- Self-medicating mental health disorders like anxiety and depression
Social pressure may lead to some women feeling they must drink to excess to fit in socially. There may be fear of being seen as a “downer” or someone who nags. Those same pressures can be why they can try a new drug that can be the start of their path to addiction.
Why Women May Avoid Seeking Treatment
Women may avoid seeking treatment for a variety of reasons. They may not go because they are pregnant or because they have young children at home. A woman may fear leaving them unattended or worry that the authorities may come along and take their children.
The burden of trying to take care of a family while undergoing treatment can seem like a daunting task. Any treatment for women with addiction should account for those fears. There should be support provided that allows them to focus on their recovery entirely.
How a Women’s Addiction Treatment Program Can Help
Treatment programs focused on women can address issues specific to their genders, like hormonal issues, family planning, and sexual health. Having the support of other women with similar experiences can encourage clients and help them feel they are not alone in their journey.
The Willows at Red Oaks provides women-focused care that aids them in their addiction recovery.
- Holistic healing
- Dual diagnosis treatment centers
- Addiction therapy services
- Long-term drug rehab center
- 12 step program